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ELPC Statement on Executive Order to Eliminate Clean Power Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Judith Nemes
March 28, 2017
(312) 795-3706
(773) 892-7494

 

Trump Administration’s Clean Power Plan Rollback “Will Move America Backwards and Reduce U.S. Global Competitiveness”
“Clean energy development is creating thousands of new jobs”

STATEMENT BY HOWARD A. LEARNER
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ENVIRONMENTAL LAW & POLICY CENTER

Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, said in response to the White House announcement that it will reverse the Clean Power Plan that would help clean up the energy sector by reducing greenhouse gas emissions:

“The Midwest’s transition to clean, renewable energy is rapidly accelerating and is creating thousands of new jobs and reducing pollution,” said Howard Learner, Executive Director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center. “President Trump’s actions today would move America backwards and reduce U.S. global competitiveness in the growing clean energy business sector.

“President Trump’s policies will subsidize economically uncompetitive polluting power plants, will punish taxpayers, and hamper job creation at rapidly growing clean energy businesses. America should invest in creating more clean energy jobs for the future instead of President Trump’s heavy subsidies for the coal sector of the past.

“Economic progress in the clean energy sector is being driven by smart state policies, technological innovation and consumer preferences. President Trump’s policies are colliding with both technology advances and the public’s demand for clean renewable energy like solar energy and wind power.  The Clean Power Plan aligns federal policy to help drive technology innovations and pollution reductions through energy efficiency and renewable energy development.

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James Linehan “A Life Lived Outdoors: A Memorial In Photographs”

Please join us for a photography exhibit opening reception

Thursday, April 6, 2017 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at ELPC

James Linehan

“A Life Lived Outdoors: A Memorial In Photographs”

 

Opening remarks will be provided by:
David Travis, Gallery Curator
Howard Learner, Executive Director,
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Please RSVP to Libby Prakel at
lprakel at elpc.org
or (312) 795-3709

Greenwire: ELPC’s Learner Says Environmentalists Looking to State AGs to Bring Lawsuits Against Polluters in State and Federal Courts

Tables are Turned as State AGs Set their Sights on Pruitt
March 1, 2017
By Amanda Reilly

Scott Pruitt, who sued U.S. EPA more than a dozen times as Oklahoma’s chief legal officer, will likely soon find himself on the other side of lawsuits filed by Democratic attorneys general.

Democrats opposed to Pruitt’s efforts to dismantle President Obama’s environmental regulations are putting up their dukes.

“My office will stand firmly in the way if Scott Pruitt and the Trump administration threaten to gut the progress we’ve made in protecting our environment and tackling the dire impacts of climate change,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman pledged in a statement. “We won’t hesitate to protect New Yorkers — even if that means stepping up enforcement ourselves, and bringing litigation against the federal government — because too much is at stake.”

State attorneys general have already signaled a willingness to mix it up, as evidenced by litigation filed quickly last month over President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

“In the past, there wouldn’t be collaboration until a law was signed,” said Paul Nolette, a political science professor at Marquette University who studies state attorneys general. “Now it’s immediate. It provides the kind of frame that progressive and Democratic attorneys general are going to use during the Trump administration.”

Environmentalists say they are looking to state lawyers to be aggressive not only in suing the Trump administration but also in taking a bigger role in environmental enforcement and in filing environmental and common law actions in state courts.

They’re expected to build on the collaborations formed during the George W. Bush administration, which also took on a deregulatory agenda. During the Bush administration, Democratic attorneys general and environmentalists succeeded in giving EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in the landmark Massachusetts v. EPA Supreme Court decision.

The case signaled the “birth of a new type of activism, trying to fight against the Bush deregulatory agenda,” Nolette said. “And I see that very much kind of coming back in vogue amongst Democratic attorneys general in the Trump administration.”

AGs to Watch

Attorneys general along both coasts will likely be key in leading the opposition to the Trump environmental agenda, legal experts said.

“If you’re an attorney general from California or Oregon or Washington, it’s relatively easier in terms of the very green constituency to be green all the time,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Midwest-based Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Emerging leaders include Schneiderman and Maura Healey of Massachusetts, both of whom are already heavily involved in the investigations of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s climate change activity. Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who’s led the legal battle against the immigration order, is also poised to play a key role.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is also eyeing a bigger role in litigation against the Trump administration after Maryland’s Democratic-led General Assembly last month voted to approve giving Frosh blanket authority to sue the federal government. The prior law required the attorney general to obtain approval from the Legislature or governor, currently a Republican, Larry Hogan.

Frosh and state Democratic leaders said concerns about the future of natural resources, including the Chesapeake Bay, partly drove the push for expanded legal authority.

In California, Nolette said, former Rep. Xavier Becerra’s willingness to give up a leadership role in Congress to be state attorney general signals that the Golden State will play a more active role than it played with Kamala Harris as attorney general. Harris was elected to the Senate in November, and Becerra became attorney general in January.

“He’s a smart guy,” Nolette said. “He knows where the action’s going to be, and he knew that that position was going to be one in which he could advance progressive policy goals.”

While the action will be concentrated on the coasts, environmentalists are looking to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to join with coastal attorneys general in taking a pro-environmental position in litigation.

Madigan, who has served as attorney general since 2003, aligned with environmental groups to clean up the Chicago River and has signed on to recent coalition letters urging the Trump administration to uphold air and water regulations.

“For a Midwestern attorney general who comes from a coal state, she’s very good on clean air, clean water issues, pro-consumer protection and very involved in issues involving consumer finance,” Learner said. “She wouldn’t be the equivalent of an attorney general from California on the environment, but Attorney General Madigan has been a strong environmental leader.” 

Climate Change

One early case where state attorneys general could be key is the litigation over the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule targeting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.

“Their roles are critical,” said Joanne Spalding, a senior managing attorney at the Sierra Club who handles climate change litigation.

The Clean Power Plan case is pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. If the Trump administration, which plans to eliminate the rule, drops its defense in court, Democratic attorneys general and environmental groups could continue to defend the rule in the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court.

“They’ve been active on the climate front. I see them as continuing to be active and helping to defend Obama regulatory initiatives,” Spalding said. “And they also have to really step up because if, as we are assuming will happen, EPA switches sides, it will be left to the intervenors to support the Obama EPA actions to defend those rules in court.”

Along with the Clean Power Plan, Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, said he also expected state attorneys general to jump into litigation over the consideration of climate change in major federal actions.

Under Obama, the White House Council on Environmental Quality issued a guidance instructing federal agencies to take warming into account in environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act. President Trump could target that guidance through an executive order.

A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general led by Schneiderman also yesterday vowed to “aggressively” oppose the Trump administration’s efforts to unravel the Obama administration’s Clean Water Rule, which clarified which streams receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act.

While environmentalists expect to also file numerous suits against the Trump administration, states are “always valued plaintiffs” in litigation because they have an easier lift to show legal standing to sue, Gerrard said.

He pointed to Massachusetts v. EPA, where the Supreme Court granted plaintiffs standing because Massachusetts could point to miles of coastline that would be affected by climate change.

“The fact that a state was one of the plaintiffs made a big difference,” Gerrard said.

The ongoing immigration suit also shows that Democratic attorneys general are willing to lay out a wide variety of legal arguments against Trump administration policies and see what sticks, Nolette said.

“The kitchen sink is being thrown at it, every possible thing you can imagine,” Nolette said. “That’s another one of the advantages that the AGs have.”

Learner of the Environmental Law & Policy Center said environmentalists are also looking to state attorneys general to bring citizen suits against polluters and to bring lawsuits in state courts as well as federal.

Sabin Center’s Gerrard said state attorneys general may turn to state common laws in the absence of greenhouse gas regulations on the federal level.

In the 2011 case American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court ruled that national greenhouse gas regulation belongs in EPA’s realm. EPA actions, the court said, pre-empt litigation that attempts to curtail emissions through federal common law, such as nuisance lawsuits.

The opinion didn’t speak to using state common laws to litigate against emitters of heat-trapping gases, but nobody has yet brought such a case.

The Supreme Court “left open the possibility of state common law nuisance cases against greenhouse gas emitters even though the court said that that theory was not viable against emitters under federal common law,” Gerrard said. “We’ll see if any states try it.”

‘A Friend in Scott Pruitt’

Republican attorneys general, for their part, see an ally in Pruitt as EPA administrator.

“I sincerely believe West Virginia will have a friend in Scott Pruitt,” the state’s attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, said in a statement. “Scott’s principled approach will respect the law and reinforce the EPA’s core mission to protect our air and water without unconstitutional and job killing overreach, which has brought tremendous harm to West Virginia during the past eight years.”

In Oklahoma, where Pruitt sued EPA over various air and water regulations on the grounds that the federal government was usurping state control, Michael Hunter became the new attorney general as of Feb. 20.

Hunter most recently served as the secretary of state, a position he held after serving as first assistant attorney general under Pruitt.

His background also includes secretary of the Commissioners of the Land Office, a $4 billion public land and investment trust in the state, and general counsel to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the state’s public utilities and energy companies.

Under Hunter, the attorney general’s office will likely intervene in litigation brought by Democratic attorneys general where necessary to protect states’ rights, but it won’t turn into “some sort of energy activist organization,” said Oklahoma Oil & Gas Association President Chad Warmington, who has known Hunter for many years.

In general, Warmington added, “I don’t see that the EPA will be as much of an issue for him as attorney general.”

“I don’t anticipate that the Oklahoma attorney general’s office will wade into as many of these, if any, lawsuits against the EPA because we’ve got Scott Pruitt,” Warmington said, “who I think clearly demonstrated that he wants to have the EPA live well within the legal constructs set out for it by Congress.”

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WTTW Chicago Tonight online: ELPC’s Tamara Dzubay Explains Benefits of Expanding EV Fast-Charging Station Network in Illinois

Chicago Pushes Charging Stations as Electric Car Sales Rise in Illinois
March 1, 2017
By Alex Ruppenthal

Illinois set a high mark for electric vehicle sales in 2016, and Chicago hopes increased demand delivers a new batch of electric car charging stations throughout the region.

In February, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) hosted two webinars for those interested in opening fast-charging electric vehicle stations that would be available to the public in six northeastern Illinois counties (Cook, Will, DuPage, Kane, Lake and McHenry).

Through its federally funded Drive Clean Station program, Chicago is offering grant funding to cover up to 30 percent of equipment and installation costs for new direct current (DC) fast-charging stations. Compared to residential-use stations that take overnight to fully charge vehicles, DC fast chargers supply a full charge in just 20-30 minutes.

Costs for fast-charging stations range from $80,000 to $100,000, said Tamara Dzubay of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center.

Through July 31, CDOT is accepting grant applications from private, public and nonprofit entities that want to set up new fast chargers. Potential applicants could include rest stop operators, hotels and retail locations.

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Midwest Energy News: ELPC’s Rob Kelter Says Volkswagen Settlement Funds Should Promote Electric Vehicle Ownership

Midwest Groups Seek Share of Volkswagen Settlement Funds for Electric Vehicles
February 28, 2017
By Andy Balaskovitz

A coalition of six Midwest clean energy groups are seeking a share of $1.2 billion allocated for zero-emissions vehicles as part of last year’s settlement in Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal.

Additionally, the groups hope to see millions more in “beneficiary mitigation” funds spent on clean transportation initiatives that are also part of the settlement and directed to each state.

A January 18 letter to Volkswagen from the coalition Charge Up Midwest highlights clean transportation efforts underway in Chicago, Columbus, Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul, suggesting these could be areas for additional investment.

“We emphasize these specific market segments in metro areas because charging station deployment at these sites will likely have the greatest potential to accelerate EV adoption,” the letter says. “These areas — particularly multi-unit dwellings and disadvantaged communities — also present unique deployment challenges to would-be market participants.”

Charge Up Midwest — made up of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Ecology Center, Great Plains Institute, Environmental Law and Policy Center, Clean Fuels Ohio and Fresh Energy — was formed to coordinate EV adoption efforts in the region, which has lagged behind coastal cities in deployment, the group notes.

“With many large population centers separated by longer distances than urban areas on the East Coast, the value of a robust DC Fast Charging Network in the Midwest becomes even more critical to supporting EV adoption and driving additional EV sales by prospective vehicle buyers,” the letter adds.

While major utilities in states like Michigan, Missouri and Ohio have proposed electric vehicle infrastructure programs, they have seen limited success and, in particular, challenges from the private sector over the role utilities should play in building a charging network.

Selection Underway

States and various other groups across the country have submitted plans to Electrify America, an entity created during the Volkswagen settlement to oversee $2 billion worth of Zero-Emissions Vehicle projects across the country. California is allocated $800 million, and Electrify America will invest the remaining $1.2 billion in projects across the U.S. over the next 10 years.

Electrify America submitted its first round of investment plans to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Feb. 22. An Electrify America spokesperson said last week that the proposals will be made public “at a later date.” The Zero Emissions Vehicle fund will go toward building charging stations as well as education and outreach.

Charles Griffith, director of the climate and energy program for the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Ecology Center, said the Volkswagen letter was one of the first actions taken up by Charge Up Midwest.

“We wanted to make sure the region didn’t get left behind, and we want to make our case about that,” Griffith said.

Also as part of the Volkswagen settlement, the Ecology Center has also been working with the state of Michigan over how to potentially spend money in the state’s environmental mitigation fund from the settlement. The goal of those dollars is to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. Michigan was allotted more than $60 million under the settlement. Other Midwest states range from $97.7 million for Illinois to $14.7 million for Kansas.

“Since each state will have its own process to qualify for the funds that have been pre-allocated by a formula for each of the states, members of our Midwest campaign each are trying to influence the processes within their respective states,” Griffith said.

The Michigan Agency for Energy also submitted a zero-emissions vehicle investment proposal to Electrify America for the state. The seven-point plan includes a focus on electric autonomous vehicles, a “high speed, cross-Michigan” network of charging stations, and clean transportation initiatives in the Detroit area.

Coordinated Effort

Griffith said Charge Up Midwest was not formed as a result of the Volkswagen settlement, but that there is a need for a coordinated approach in the region to EV infrastructure development, particularly as a growing number of utilities pitch plans for their service areas.

“Our focus is on getting the charging infrastructure right in terms of where the stations go and how they’re funded,” said Robert Kelter, a senior attorney with the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago. “Once we get to the stations themselves, there remains a question about whether there should be a competitive market for charging or if it should be utility-owned and operated stations. I think that issue has not yet been determined.”

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WBEZ’s Reveal: ELPC’s Handheld Air Monitor & Intern Eve Robinson Featured in Diesel Pollution & Schools Special Report

WBEZ 91.5 Chicago Public Radio
Reveal Show: School Haze
February 18, 2017

Across the country, thousands of public schools are within 500 feet of pollution-choked roads like highways and truck routes. On Reveal, we investigate the high levels of exhaust surrounding U.S. schools and how the bad air is affecting the millions of children who are breathing it in.

LISTEN HERE

 

Chicago Tribune: Innovative Ideas for Chicago’s Pedway Emerge from ELPC-sponsored Workshops

Chicago Tribune
January 21, 2017

… Ideas Floated for Pedway

By Blair Kamin

Live performances in the mothballed CTA superstation below Block 37. Temporary food carts. Art displays. Shafts of natural light. Touches of greenery. Visible security patrols.

Those were among ideas that nearly 100 people recently floated at three workshops aimed at making downtown Chicago’s confusing and visually dreary network of underground tunnels and corridors easier to navigate and more attractive.

The network, called the pedway, connects more than 50 buildings and is used by thousands of people on weekdays, particularly during extreme and inclement weather. No one thinks it’s perfect, the workshops revealed, but the sessions also aired different, though not necessarily irreconcilable, goals on how to make the pedway better.

“Maybe there’s a tension between form and function,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, the nonprofit that sponsored the workshops. “There are some who are saying, ‘It needs to be made cleaner, better lit, better maintained, just an easier way to get around.’ There are others who say, ‘This can be made more exciting.'”

Individual building owners — including the city, state and county — operate sections of the pedway, which has grown piecemeal since its first sections opened in 1951. Yet inconsistencies in everything from operating hours to temperature levels frustrate users of the system. City transportation officials are backing efforts to upgrade the network, starting with a key stretch beneath Randolph Street that was the focus of the workshops.

The top priorities that emerged from the sessions, Learner said, are better signs and maps that will improve navigation, common hours and operating policies that will unify the pedway, and new activities that will make the network exciting, engaging, even hip, like underground networks in Montreal and Atlanta.

To do all that, the nonprofit will need to build a constituency of public officials and private businesses that will support the effort — and, in all likelihood, pay for it.

The next step calls for a team of design consultants to lead open workshops Monday through Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. The team is composed of Billings Jackson Design of Chicago, which specializes in “wayfinding” systems; British engineers BuroHappold; and New York’s Davis Brody Bond architects.

“Part of what they’re going to do is put a lot of stuff upon the wall and they’ll incorporate the conceptual (ideas) that people have raised” at the workshops, Learner said. Key players, from officials in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office to executives at Macy’s State Street store, which has a connection to the pedway, will be invited in to comment. So will members of the public.

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Chicago Tonight: ELPC’s David McEllis Says ELPC Will Be Committed to Energy Policy During Trump Administration

Chicago TonightChicago Activists Prepare to Defend Environment Under Trump
January 24, 2017
By Alex Ruppenthal

On the eve of last week’s presidential inauguration, dozens of Chicago activists met to plan a defense of environmental policies that appear vulnerable under the administration of President Donald Trump.

About 100 people gathered Jan. 19 at Loyola University’s School of Law to hear from leaders of the Sierra Club, National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Law Policy Center and other groups about their agendas for 2017 and beyond – first and foremost, how to protect the environment during the Trump years.

“Donald Trump is going to become president tomorrow, and I’m frankly terrified about what that means for the environment,” said Kady McFadden, deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Illinois Chapter.

Also on the panel was the Rev. Booker Steven Vance, poilcy director for Faith in Place, an Illinois group that encourages religious institutions to work on environmental issues.

Minutes after Trump’s swearing-in Friday, all references to global warming and climate change disappeared from the official website of the White House, whitehouse.gov.

The updated version instead featured a section called “An American First Energy Plan” that pledged to eliminate “burdensome regulations on our energy industry … such as the Climate Action Plan.”

Another indication of Trump’s environmental agenda is his nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who has described himself as “a leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.”

“States are going to have a much greater role in protecting the environment under the Trump administration, particularly if the EPA is led by Scott Pruitt,” said state Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston, one of several legislators in attendance. “A lot of the protection we think is going to be sent down to the states.”

McFadden said she would be watching for violations of the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and threats to funding for environmental agencies and programs. She also planned to track updates related to the Paris Agreement on climate change, Keystone XL pipeline and Dakota Access pipeline.

“I’ll stop just at the high-level threats and not go on and on,” she said.

Trump on Tuesday signed executive orders to advance the controversial Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, though it was unclear exactly how the orders would affect the projects, which had been halted during environmental reviews legislated under President Barack Obama.

Also on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Trump’s administration had banned EPA employees from providing updates on social media or to reporters. Trump also put a freeze on new contracts or grants issued by the agency, the AP reported.

McFadden said Trump’s anti-environment agenda is out of step with the stance of most Americans, particularly on issues such as clean water and the need to invest in renewable energy.

“We have public opinion,” she said. “Frankly, we have the economy on our side – moving toward clean energy, moving away from dirty fossil fuels. And there’s not much that Congress or President Trump can do about that.

“The more that this Congress and this administration overreaches, the more it exposes that gap between what they’re doing and what the public really wants and thinks,” McFadden continued. “It’s our job to really expose and talk about that.”

Trump’s proposed environmental actions figure to create “a big tent of allies” for environmental activists, McFadden said. But they shouldn’t count on others doing the work, she said.

“If you care about the environment and you don’t know who your state senator is, I would argue that you truly don’t care about the environment enough,” McFadden said. “These folks should be hearing from you and knowing your opinions.”

Notwithstanding the Trump administration’s emerging policies, the passing of a landmark energy jobs bill last month in Springfield has activists feeling better about environmental causes in Illinois.

“Despite what you might be feeling about things at the federal level, things are going in our favor here in Illinois,” said Jen Walling, executive director of the Illinois Environmental Council, which organized the meeting.

Even with certain U.S. policies at risk, the market for clean energy investors is stable, said Tim Polz of SoCore, a Chicago-based solar portfolio development company.

“I think the consensus throughout our industry is that federal policy is pretty well set at the moment, at least energy policy, toward renewable energy,” Polz said. “We could always use stronger support, but we have a long-term investment tax credit in place which helps drive our industry. And on the wind side, we have the production tax credit, which will be around for the next several years.”

As Trump’s environmental agenda comes into focus, ELPC’s David McEllis said the organization would make sure work continues at Department of Energy National Laboratories, including Lemont’s Argonne National Laboratory, which houses 15 research divisions and five national scientific user facilities.

Within Illinois, McEllis said ELPC would be monitoring payments owed by coal companies to reclaim land polluted by coal mining.

“The coal industry is losing money – some of the biggest coal companies are going bankrupt,” said McEllis, noting one company, Peabody Energy, which owes $92 million in reclamation costs to the state of Illinois. “We think the coal industry should pay for their own cleanup – not taxpayers.”

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch: ELPC’s Learner Says Peabody Must Be Responsible for Cleanup

st-louis-post-dispatch-logoPeabody Plans to Hand Shares to Workers After Bankruptcy
January 18, 2017
By Bryce Gray

All Peabody Energy employees may own a piece of the company when it emerges from bankruptcy.

The coal company said Monday that it intended to issue shares to all 7,000 employees as part of its reorganization plan, which calls for canceling Peabody’s current shares and replacing them with new stock, most of which would be owned by creditors.

First, though, the company must navigate a series of hearings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in St. Louis. On Thursday, the court will hear arguments from shareholders who are upset about seeing their investments wiped out. It is the company’s first time before the court since it submitted a reorganization plan last month.

Thursday’s hearing will address whether an official equity committee should be established to represent the interests of shareholders. Peabody and a committee of unsecured creditors have filed motions opposing the request.

Shareholders who support forming a committee have said they question Peabody’s valuation of itself in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process.

“The price is nowhere near reality,” says Mark Gottlieb, a New Jersey-based Peabody investor who argues that the company is deliberately overlooking a rebound in coal prices. “The only [coal company] who says we’re still at the depth of the depression of coal is Peabody Energy and that’s because they want the low valuation.”

Peabody denies that it is undervaluing itself.

“The company recognizes that any Chapter 11 process is challenging for a number of stakeholders,” Peabody said in a statement released Monday. “While objections are a natural part of the process, Peabody has advanced a plan of reorganization that it believes maximizes the value of the enterprise.”

Peabody confirmed that shareholders “are unlikely to receive any value and their shares are likely to be canceled,” an outcome it has predicted for months.

On Jan. 26, another hearing will feature a broader discussion of Peabody’s proposed reorganization plan.

That conversation is likely to include concerns about the company’s coverage of environmental cleanup costs. Critics have said that it is not clear how the company will account for reclamation obligations in states that allow self-bonding, a practice in which companies pledge to cover future cleanup costs. Peabody’s self-bonding obligations were only partially covered in an August bankruptcy ruling.

“Peabody should not be able to shift its obligation for reclamation and cleanup costs onto the public – onto taxpayers,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, an organization challenging Peabody’s plan. Learner says any reorganization plan should not be considered feasible until self-bonding concerns are addressed.

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Audubon: Climate Communications Field Manager

Position Summary:

The Climate Field Communications Manager will be responsible for amplifying local visibility related to Audubon’s climate initiative program. S/he Manager will oversee and implement Audubon’s climate field communications strategy throughout the Audubon network with an emphasis on priority states. Reporting to the Climate Campaigns Director, be an instrumental member of the Climate Initiative’s core team. The Field Communications Manager will also ensure that the Audubon network receives the communications support it needs to address climate change action at the local, state and national level while creating safe political space and a greater demand for change for climate solutions.

Please include a cover letter when submitting your resume to this position.

Essential Functions:

  • Secure high quality media coverage at local levels across all types of earned media ‐digital, print, broadcast.
  • Develop strategic media relations plans and campaigns, in collaboration with other staff and partners.
  • Develop, edit and distribute press materials and messaging points specifically for network‐based climate efforts
  • Generate and edit templates for letters to the editor, op‐eds and other tools for the field
  • Respond to local media requests from the network, specifically from field organizers in their climate efforts
  • Coordinate and lead editorial board visits
  • Maintain relationships with reporters and news outlets
  • Training and supporting network spokespeople to communicate about Audubon’s climate efforts
  • Ongoing coordination and integration with Network and climate and energy advocacy strategies
  • Manage projects and campaigns on time and on budget.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, marketing, or related field; t equivalent experience may be considered in lieu of education.
  • 5+ of professional experience working in public relations, marketing, or communications‐related field; 2 years experience managing people/teams and logistics preferred.
  • Proven track record of high quality media placements
  • Exceptional organizational and project management capacity with demonstrated ability to manage complex campaigns
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills including writing for press release and talking points
  • Meticulous attention to detail, resourceful, with a can‐do attitude
  • Understanding of and interest in how grassroots and advocacy strategies works with media
  • Experience leading media trainings and coaching spokespeople
  • Familiarity and experience utilizing both paid and earned media strategies
  • A self‐starter, one who is motivated, able to work in a decentralized work environment with minimal supervision, and juggle multiple projects simultaneously
  • Background in issue advocacy and energy/conservation issues a plus
  • Ability to work independently, as well as be a strong team player
  • Experience conducting editorial board visits
  • Demonstrated aptitude for clear message development and message discipline
  • Ability to balance eye for detail with compelling overarching vision
  • Ability to improvise and problem‐solve with clarity and steadiness
  • Comfort working in a fast‐paced, rapidly changing environment
  • Established base of contacts in high‐profile national media outlets
  • Proficiency with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and other key Microsoft Office and web‐based products
  • Spanish speaking and writing skills preferred
  • Travel required

Apply Here

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